A lot of Australian readers who have already bought or are considering buying an MG4 electric car asked me a range of questions about software updates including would updates be sent via the car Vodafone connection over the air (OTA)? How often would there be updates? Would updates be applied for free by MG dealers?
Before I answer questions I want to point out some important things.
The more polite specific feedback about issues with the car is sent to MG Australia by owners, the more likely that they can incentivise the dev team to work on a free software update to improve issues like a better Custom mode that remembers OPD being On, as well as improving lane keeping assist and reducing phantom braking.
MG Dealers are not owned by MG Motor Australia. They are independent businesses who buy MG cars from MG Motor Australia and then sell them to people like you.
From memory there around 80 MG dealers across Australia. Like any large group of human beings there will be a mixture of great, average and mediocre people you’ll deal with and the service quality will vary a lot.
If you don’t like the service at your local MG dealer try another one instead after checking the MG4 Owners Australia facebook group to find out which nearby MG dealerships have a reputation for offering better customer service.
You can choose to do servicing for your MG4 at a 3rd party which can handle EV’s but I don’t recommend that as they won’t have be able to apply any MG software updates to your car.
I talked extensively with an MG Motor Australia spokesperson and these are the answers I was able to obtain:
How will Australian MG4 owners will be kept up to date with essential and optional software updates?
Answer : “Owners are kept up to date with essential and optional software updates through a combination of marketing EDMs’ if they’ve opted in or through the dealer network when they come in for their scheduled service. Some dealers may be proactive in reaching out via phone however this is at the discretion of the dealer and their approach to the customer”.
My analysis: Contact MG and ask to be opted in to their marketing EDM’s for MG4 buyers (that’s marketing jargon for getting on their email list).
Choose to buy from an MG dealer that says they’ll contact you if any updates are available.
Q2. Is the first 1000km service optional? People inform me some dealers told them about it and were happy to do it and other dealers said come back in 2 years/40000km
My analysis: It looks like only some dealers offer a free 1000km courtesy service to check everything is OK with the car after you’ve driven it for a bit.
Check on the MG4 Owners Australia facebook group to find out which MG4 dealers do offer the 1000km courtesy service and buy your car from there if possible.
The price difference for the 1000km check is huge. Some MG4 owners have told me they got it free from the dealer they bought the car at, some paid $80 which is reasonable and some were quoted $900 which is ridiculously high for a basic checkup.
Q3. Regarding the cost of ad hoc software update requests by MG4 owners will each dealer decide what to do separately?
Answer: “During the Warranty Period, any customer who completes a Scheduled Service for their Eligible Vehicle at a Participating MG Dealer will be eligible for a software update if available and necessary unless they already have the latest release installed”.
“Customers are able to update the software in their Eligible Vehicles without completing a Scheduled Service in which case the cost of the update will be at the dealer’s discretion”.
My analysis: When MG tells their dealers a specific update should be applied for free then it will be done for free, like recently when a small batch of Aussie MG4 Excite 51 owners needed a One Pedal Driving software update.
Notice the word “necessary” in the answer. I’m betting that some MG dealers will install all the available software updates for an MG4 that’s in for servicing and other dealers will only install some updates or none. It completely depends on what the dealer thinks is “necessary”.
As explained before by me MG Dealers are not owned by MG Motor Australia. They are independent businesses who buy MG cars from MG Motor Australia and then sell them to people like you.
So since car updates are time consuming and require monitoring you can expect a per hour cost if you ask an MG dealer to apply all available MG4 updates to your car outside a scheduled service visit.
A recent post on MGEVS forum by a person saying they’re an Australian MG4 owner said they were quoted $196/hour for an on demand software update to their car. If your local MG dealer has quoted a per/hour cost for software updates please share it here as a comment.
“At least they also can’t force changes with regressions that we don’t want onto us like other manufacturers can. If there’s a reason for the update then they will do it for free, they pretty much have to if it’s the only solution to what would be a warranty repair job. For example this week I got an upgrade from R04 to R11 (Essence 64) by saying carplay was playing up (which it was occasionally)”.
Q4. Is there any clarity on when some partial form of OTA updates will be available for the MG4?
Answer: “None of the MG range available in Australia currently offers over the air updates, however, future software updates for the MG4 will potentially include some over the air abilities for the new model.”
My analysis: It sounds like MG Australia will try to work on an MG4 software update to enable some OTA functionality but they aren’t promising it will definitely be possible.